I was downstairs. My kids came running in screaming and said there was a flood. —Deborah Linge, Murray resident
MURRAY — A canal breach Saturday afternoon sent a wall of mud and water tumbling into more than a half dozen homes, leaving some so damaged their owners worry they may have to be demolished.
Owners of homes on the south side of Saddle Bluff Drive (6765 South) and 1200 West each had their own personal horror story to tell, recounting how what was once a beautiful spring day turned ugly for them.
"I was downstairs," said Deborah Linge. "My kids came running in screaming and said there was a flood."
The earthen canal owned by the North Jordan Canal Co., runs behind the homes that received the worst of the damage, although its water continued to flow through the streets in front of homes north of the breach, swamping one silver compact car.
Murray Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Dykman said the collapse happened at 4:12 p.m., the ground giving way and leaving a gaping hole where the canal once flowed. Power and gas were immediately shut off to the affected homes, and Dykman advised the residents to stay elsewhere until the homes' structural integrity is assessed.
Hours afterward, the earth continued to slough off and Dykman said Saturday night the water would continue to flow for several hours as it was corralled toward the Jordan River.
"This is truly a disaster," he told neighbors during a briefing. "I feel for you. The good news is no one got hurt."
Jessica Goodman's home took the brunt of the canal's fury, her back yard and basement deluged with mud.
She said she tried to do what she could to protect her home but the mud flow and water came at the structure so fast, it was futile.
A neighbor, Petra Winegar, climbed the hill above the Goodmans' house and pointed.
"How do you describe that?" she questioned, shaking her head.
Goodman's husband scrambled and moved their motor home, where big landscaping boulders now sit.
"He got it in the nick of time."
She grabbed her 4-year-old daughter and headed for safety.
The canal had flooding issues last fall and caused damage to the house just west of Jessica Goodman's.
Doug Hill, with the Murray Public Works Department, said the canal company just recently completed a massive stabilization project on the canal, but the section that was fixed was just north of the subdivision in Taylorsville. The canal runs from Utah Lake to Kennecott.
Many of the residents impacted by Saturday's events said they knew the risks of living next to the canal and some had even inquired about purchasing flood insurance. They said they were told by carriers they are ineligible because they don't live in a flood plain.
John Dye, whose basement was flooded, moved in a dozen years ago and said over the years he's grown to fear something like Saturday's canal collapse might happen.
"The canal is probably a 100 years old or more. We're dealing with pioneer technology in the 21st century. It was a ticking time bomb, honestly."